A shaken mother is speaking out to warn other parents after her toddler almost died from the herpes virus.
Little 16-month-old Parker contracted the virus in August after receiving an innocent kiss and becoming seriously ill.
Incredibly, he was turned away by doctors three times before mum Maria O’Neill, 22, rushed him to the emergency room and the staff realised something was very wrong.
Parker was immediately put on a drip, three different antibiotics, and an antiviral medication and spent a week in the hospital.
“It really was awful and very scary because I’ve read about it before, but I never thought it would happen to us,” Maria, who blames herself for the diagnosis, says.
“He’s only just recovering now — he’s still not back to himself, and he also has anaemia, so that was another struggle for him.”
Maria says that though she was turned away by the doctors, it was her mother’s intuition that told her something was very wrong.
“He had a fever about two weeks leading up to these events, which progressed into a rash. I went to the doctors twice, but they just gave me cream for him.
“I just felt there was something else behind it — the rash didn’t look normal and he wasn’t [acting] normal … then he started getting blisters all over his body.”
Eventually Maria grew frustrated with her doctors and rushed Parker to the hospital, where he was finally diagnosed with a strand of the herpes virus.
“The doctor told me that it was from the cold sore virus and that he’d got it by the kiss or the touch of someone with the virus.
“I stayed with him in the hospital for a week, and I didn’t leave his side.”
Cold sores are caused by the herpes simplex virus, which is highly contagious — and passed from person to person by close direct contact.
After someone has contracted the virus, even after the sore itself has gone, the virus remains in the body but is dormant most of the time.
Parker has mostly recovered from the virus, but he has been left scarred and now suffers from eczema.
“Luckily, I don’t think Parker really remembers it, even though now we have to put cream on him every day.
“He’s been such a brave boy throughout the whole experience. He’s recovered mostly now, but he does still have flare-ups. I’m so aware now about people cuddling him and kissing him.”
Maria has now shared the pictures online in a bid to raise awareness and help other parents.
“I wasn’t going to put it up on Facebook, but I saw other people who had done it before me and I just thought it’ll be worth it if I can help someone.”
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